Democracy in Canada

The CUSJ is very concerned about the declining state of democracy in Canada. We see this in a number of ways:

  • Lower and lower voter turnouts in all levels of government elections
  • Majority and even minority governments that no longer seem to be accountable to the people and that are under the influence of huge corporate lobbies
  • Lack of proper respect for the parliament and for the role of elected representatives.
  • The attack on science, information, information workers, Statistics Canada, freedom of information, and libraries and archives is of great concern. We believe a knowledgeable public and good access to information is a cornerstone of democracy.

CUSJ Press Release 2017 02 02 Condemning About Face by Justin Trudeau

CUSJ Brief to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, September 26, 2016

CUSJ Press Release:  2015 05 18 Unanimous vote to work for proportional representation at AGM

What is the important concern about C-51 The Anti Terrorism Act – 2014 03 23 by Fred Blair

ICLMG (International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group) speaks to parliammentary committee and writes report calling for scrapping of C-51  CUSJ has been a supporter for ten years and is represented by ICLMG.

Ed Broadbent, co-author of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, call the Liberals to honour their heritage and vote against C-51

CUSJ Press Release against Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Law.

Voices/Voix 2014 12 12 How the Attack on Charities is reducing Democracy in Canada

2014 10 21  The current debate raging in all print media is whether or not we have to take down Capitalism itself in order to preserve some sense of freedom and democracy.  Naomi Klein’s new book (This Changes Everything:  Capitalism vs the Climate) makes the case that Capitalism itself in its current form is the problem.  This article by Chris Hedges in OpEd 2014 10 20 shows how the Corporate Takeover is ushering in a new era of totalitarianism with a different face.

2014 10 04 Steve Paikin hosts 30 minute debate on Alternative Vote vs Proportional Rep for Toronto

2014 06 09 Andrew Coyne’s rant shows why we need Proportional Representation

CUSJ signs on to Common Causes and Council of Canadians Statement on “Fair Elections Act.

A new approach to polling — Deliberative Polling — giving people a chance to become fully informed and build consensus toward more effective solutions to knotty problems.

I Politics 2014 04 10 Great analysis by Anita Vandenbelt on 5 ways the Unfair Elections Act significantly undermines Canadian Democracy.

John M. Carey, Dartmouth College, 2000 Academic Paper on how to maximize the advantages of stability and accountability (First Past the Post) and true representation of diversity (Proportional Representation. Influenced Stephan Dion to develop his proposed 3P proportional system.

National Post 2014 03 11 Is it the “Fair” or the “Unfair Elections Act”? Commentary by academics.

70% of Canadians support some form of Proportional Representation — polls from 2001 to 2013

Fair Vote Canada latest Tabloid Fall 2013 on Proportional Representation: CUSJ supports the on-going work of Fair Vote Canada to bring about a proportional voting system in Canada.

Steve Aikin, The Agenda, 2014 02 10 Why Aren’t Young Adults Voting? 36 minutes

Paper Evaluating Democracy in New Zealand under MMP by Jack H Nagel. Discusses the values of MMP(Mixed Member Proportional) vs FPTP (First Past the Post) and compares the 6 elections before MMP with the six elections after MMP for both strength of government and fairness of representation. An informative paper if you want to understand the consequences of each approach.

2013 11 17 Toronto Star Opinion Letter by Gary Dale on why Proportional Representation is needed for democracy.

2013 10 01 The Tyee Why Minority Governments are Better and why British Columbia should shift to proportional representation. by Rafe Mair. This is a great explanation of the issues relating to proportional representation and why we shouldn’t be worried but rather pleased by a coalition approach to government.

2013 07 24 Voices/VOIX letter to the Prime Minister demanding a retraction of “the enemy briefing list” for new cabinet ministers as seriously undermining Canadian freedom of speech and assembly.

June 28, 2013 – Statistics Canada on the weaknesses of the 2011 census and the inability to provide good data for planning

May 23rd, 2013 Council of Canadians announce Victory on Election Fraud case. Link to how you can help them battle the appeal.

Ask Your Politicians to take the 7-point Democracy Pledge through Democracy Watch!

Council of Canadians Court Case for Democracy against misleading Robocalls: This past November (2012), First U. Church of Victoria conducted an “Action” on the robocalls that occurred in the 2011 election. The newsletter article, skit from the pulpit, and display and form letter are provided as a possible inspiration or guide for other congregations. First U. Church of Victoria sent 85 signed copies of the form letter to Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer. No reply is expected until sometime in 2013.

Another way to support this action is to contribute to the legal defence fund at

Muzzling of Federal Scientists a threat to democracy 2013 02 20 by Margaret Munro, Post Media News (printed by Vancouver Sun)

Canada’s NGO’s Aren’t Looking for Charity – I-Politics 2012 12 09 by Julia Sanchez — Great article on the role of NGO’s to protect democracy, promote international development, and make Canada’s reputation abroad.

CUSJ’s letter 2012 10 25 to the Standing Committee on International Trade and Party leaders on the Canada-China trade deal

CUSJ’s letter 2012 10 25 to the Premiers and leaders of the territories asking them to intervene to stop the Canada-China trade deal

We believe that a very essential step in getting our parliaments working again is electoral reform. We believe that Canada needs some system of proportional representation and CUSJ supports all the initiatives being taken to achieve this goal by Fair Vote Canada. Fair Vote Canada has a national speaker’s bureau who are very happy to organize a speaker for you. The Speakers Bureau is being coordinated by Justin O’Donnell and Anita Nickerson. You can reach them and Executive Director, Wayne Smith (416-407-7009) by sending email to Speakers@FairVote.Ca, Send them speaker requests or updates on your project.

Fair Vote Canada practices Democracy. Should Alternative Vote (not a proportional system) be promoted at the municipal level where there are no parties? If you want your say, join Fair Vote Canada and vote. Case for AV? Case for Pure PR

We support the refunding of Democracy Watch, an important organization that has kept watch on the quality of democracy in both Canada and around the world.

CUSJ deplores the casual way with which the Conservatives treat the election process. We are angry that they feel free to use robocalls to direct voters to the wrong polling booth, and that they significantly tampered with the elections in several key ridings. We support the Council of Canadians in their legal challenge to the validity of 7 election results in the Federal Election of May 2nd, 2011.

CUSJ’s Letter opposing defunding of many NGO’s including Kairos and CCIC

For Reports on many specific cases of attacks on our democratic rights visit the Voices/Voix website.

We also support the work of Reclaim Our Democratic Canada to bring together a coalition of different groups to work together to protect and improve Canadian Democracy.

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